Neil A. Armstrong Neil A. Armstrong

Neil Armstrong has passed away at the age of 82.

The former astronaut died Saturday after complications with heart surgery, The New York Times reports.

Armstrong turned into an international hero when he commanded the Apollo 11 and became first person to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. The three hours Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent on the moon that day signaled the end of the 12-year Cold War space race against the Soviet Union. His first words upon setting foot on the moon's surface, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind," have since become immortalized and mark one of the greatest moments in scientific and American history.

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Born Aug. 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Neil Alden Armstrong developed a fascination with aviation early on in life, earning his pilot's license at 16, before he could even drive. Armstrong's pursuit of a degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University was interrupted by a stint in the Navy, where he flew 78 Navy combat missions as a fighter pilot in Korea.After the war, Armstrong returned to Purdue before getting his masters at the University of Southern California. He went on to be a test pilot for NASA until being accepted into their second astronaut class in 1962. Armstrong then left NASA in 1971 to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnatti for eight years.A very private man, Armstrong preferred to live a quiet life on his Ohio farm instead of indulging in the celebrity his achievements awarded him. He leaves behind his wife Carol Knight and two sons from a previous marriage.